This beautiful, difficult, challenging, cheering weather! What a time to be without a camera (mine jammed on Boxing Day and won't even be seen by anyone till Monday, weather permitting) - the photo of the afterglow on the hills to the north was taken on my phone, cropped and digitised using
shock my pic, a process which imparts a touch of the Van Gogh in place of the fuzzy focus of my phone in all but the best light. I hadn't realised what an addict I was until I couldn't take photos any more.
Now that we seem to have settled into a routine more familiar in Canada or Scandinavia (I exaggerate, but never mind) I have had time to think about the good and bad sides of this existence. Top of the bad pile must come the frozen waste pipe from our kitchen this morning. This pipe has frozen once before in our time here, during the fearsome cold snap which saw the first visit of Mrs Tosh to Dunoon. The chill in the house (because we kept going outside to empty the basin) and on the train journey home contributed to a determination never to return to Dunoon if the month had an r in it. (I'm glad she repented, slightly). Anyway, the pressure of trying to drain into this frozen pipe blew apart a join in the waste pipe from the washing machine, with a great rush of water behind the kitchen units driving me and Mr B into paroxysms of despair. But the good pile was crowned by the appearance, three hours later, of a plumber and his mate, who thawed the pipe with their blowtorch and reconnected the washing machine. The best bit was that the mate was once a renowned miscreant at school, who admitted to his name with a wry grin as we assured him that today, no matter what he had been, we loved him.
Another goody is the justification of my purchase, in November, of a super-warm, super-expensive goose-down gilet. Along with a fleece I bought 20 years ago and rarely wore because it was too warm, it has hardly been off my back. Ditto the expensive, 15 year old Italian fur-lined boots. Ditto the central heating we installed - our first - in August. Baddies? I'm tired of feeling like Michelin lady; I hate my hat-flattened hair; I'm bored with walking only on the shore road because Mr B has not yet managed to get spikey doo-dahs for his feet and the forest paths are lethal. And sometimes I'm fed up being so cold if I go outside without putting everything on.
But a last, positive thought: when you're cold, do you use up more calories in simply existing?